Moving to South Korea

Country Guide

Country Guide: South Korea

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

Updated: June 19, 2018

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport (photo, entry stamp, & long term visa pages)
  • Detailed inventory / packing list (in English)
  • Copy of bill of lading (OBL) or sea waybill / air waybill (AWB)
  • Alien registration card (ARC) (from Korean Immigration Office)
  • Certificate of entry and exit (returning citizens and accompanying family members only)
  • Application for duty exemption issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Korea (diplomats)
  • Customs declaration form
  • Power of attorney

Specific Information

  • Passport copy should be a copy of the owner of the goods’ passport, and each of the accompanying family members.
  • The ARC must be valid for at least 12 months.
  • Goods must arrive at port of entry / airport of entry (POE / AOE) in Korea within 6 months of the owner of the goods’ arrival.
  • Clearance should take place at a Customs bonded warehouse (except for diplomats).
  • Personal effects cannot be Customs cleared prior to the owner of the goods’ arrival.
  • All incoming shipments, excluding diplomatic shipments, are subject to open inspection by the Korean Customs Authority.
    • However, even diplomats, due to container access restriction within Seoul’s four main gates area, must have containers de-vanned and trans-loaded to mover’s van but without inspection.
  • Evidence of at least 12 months abroad must be shown in passport (returning citizens).
Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original title
  • Original registration certificate
  • Copy purchase receipt or invoice
  • Insurance policy documents
  • Detailed inventory (diplomats)
  • Customs duty exemption showing frame number, chassis number, engine number, model, and type (diplomats)

Specific Information

  • Vehicle must be listed on the inventory with full technical specifications (make, model, chassis number, plate number, etc.)
  • Insurance policy should be issued in Korea prior to removing the car from the Customs bonded warehouse.
  • In order to register and to drive in South Korea, the vehicle must pass the following Government tests:
    • Emission gas level test
    • Noise and vibration test
    • Type and model approval
  • Vehicles cannot be sold or transferred by a diplomat to a non-diplomatic individual for 3 years; however sale or transfer between diplomatic individuals is authorized.
    • If a vehicle is sold or transferred to a non-diplomatic individual by a diplomat, duties and taxes shall be charged by Korean Customs.
  • The vehicle must be identified on the detailed inventory.

Documents Required

  • Microchip installation showing below information:
  • Valid health certificate
  • Vaccination record (must include rabies vaccination)
  • Proof of identification

Specific Information

  • Animals will be quarantined upon arrival to South Korea; currently, there is a 10-day quarantine
  • required.
  • Animals should have vaccinations at least 30 days prior to import.
    If rabies vaccinations are not older than 30 days, pets must remain in quarantine the 10-days plus the number of days to total 30 full days since the rabies vaccination.
Restricted/Dutiable Items
  • The following household goods may be imported duty free by persons 19 years and older within the limits indicated:
    • Alcohol (1 L)
    • Cigarettes (200), cigars (50), tobacco (250 g)
    • Perfume (2 oz.)
    • Personal items (gifts, new items, etc. up to $400)
  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosive materials, including fireworks (permission from the Korean authorities is required)
  • Narcotic and psychotropic drugs
  • Animals
  • Foodstuff
    • Food items are allowed in sea shipments only.
    • If the owner of the goods is shipping food items ensure all food items are sealed and labeled.
    • Duty free entry for small amounts.
    • The shipment is subject to payment of 20% duty if total amount is too large for a household good shipment.
      • Check with destination agent for more details.
    • Plants and plant byproducts (subject to quarantine and approval by the authorities; denial of entry is possible)
Prohibited Items
  • Illegal drugs
  • Pornographic material
  • Counterfeit goods or materials
  • Subversive and treasonous materials
Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook Entry for South Korea

Wikipedia Entry for South Korea